New housing development in Edinburgh could pave way for footbridge across Water of Leith

Residents hope for new link

Monday, 24th August 2020, 7:30 am
Updated Monday, 24th August 2020, 7:42 am
New housing development in Edinburgh could pave way for footbridge across Water of Leith

RESIDENTS are pressing developers behind a proposed new housing estate at Longstone to include a footbridge over the Water of Leith to improve local links.

A pre-application notice has been submitted by Capital contractors J Smart & Co for a mixed housing and commercial development on the former Booker cash and carry site on Inglis Green Road.

A bridge was talked about when the Sainsbury supermarket was built on the neighbouring site seven years ago, but never built. Now locals hope there is another chance to create a new route across the river.

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Steuart Campbell, secretary of Longstone community council, said it would make a huge improvement to links in the area.

He said there had been clear community support for a bridge before, but despite a feasibility study carried out a condition of the planning permission for the Sainsbury site it was not going to happen at that stage.

“Sainsbury weren’t going to do it and the council wasn’t going to spend money on it, but the idea has bounced around ever since.

“We didn’t know how we were going to get a bridge but then we realised Booker’s was coming down and something was going to develop on that site so we had it in mind that something could be put in as a condition.

“It would give access for people on the south side to Asda and people on the north side to Sainsbury.

“And cyclists would have more options to cross the river instead of having to use the canal path over the viaduct which is rather narrow and cyclists are told to dismount but they often don’t so there are conflicts on that.”

Helen Brown, manager at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, said there was a ballpark estimate of £40,000 for the cost of a bridge.

“It would be tremendously valuable for the community and it would enable wheelchair access along the Water of Leith walkway. It would link from the walkway to the canal to Redhall Park and through, which would mean a big section of the river was opened up to people with wheelchairs or just mobility problems who couldn’t manage steps.”

Peter Hawkins, of cycle campaign group Spokes, also backed the bridge idea.

He said it would give the residents of the new development easy foot and cycle access to shops, a supermarket and leisure complex, as well as offering safe routes for children going from Longstone to St Cuthbert’s Primary School in Hutchison or from the New Mart side to Longstone school.

“There is currently no crossing of the river between Slateford and Gorgie Rd, a distance of about a mile - or 20 minutes’ walk. An intermediate crossing at Inglis Green Road is therefore highly desirable.”

Gavin Corbett, Green councillor for the Chesser area, said: “There has been strong support for a footbridge over this part of the river for years. It would make a great walking connection for residents in Hutchison-Chesser and Longstone and, for cyclists, it would cut out the frankly scary stretch of road from the top of Chesser Avenue to Inglis Green Road. The developers on the site would strike a really popular note with the local community if they commit to building a bridge here as part of their plans.”

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